How was this almost 4 months ago? Can I go back already? I left a little bit of my heart in Hoi An (and the rest of Vietnam). We chose to stay in Hoi An for 3 nights. I wish we had another night so we could have gone on a day trip out past Danang, or included a night in Danang, but you do learn these things. We could have done the day trip during our time, for sure, but we also did a lot of exploring by bicycle and foot, which was more chilled. We checked out the Old Town (naturally), the beaches, the Herb & Vegetable Village, and drank a fair bit of coffee (again, also natural in Vietnam). Hot milk coffee, Iced milk coffee, iced coconut coffee, iced coffee shake (omg, that was good). For those that might be wondering – we went to the Hoi An Eco Cooking Class and really enjoyed it. I shared a few snaps on my Instagram, if that interests you.
Where we stayed:
We changed accommodation very last minute due to the Typhoon, and we opted for this little gem on airbnb (as per my previous post, we chose Airbnb for most of our trip) : Cashew Tree Bungalow. It’s near An Bang Beach (about 5km from the old Town) People will get lost trying to pick you up, but it all works out in the end. They serve you breakfast, to your room, at the time you requested, every day. It’s nothing overly fancy, but clean and comfortable and private and there is a plant actually growing in the shower.
Where we ate & drank:
I really felt like Hoi An was a place of so much to eat, but not enough time to do it. We had some recommendations from Trip Advisor, a few blog posts here and there, and I also put it out on social media. The time is too short to eat subpar vietnamese, in Vietnam. These are a few of our highlights:
- Purple Lantern (a good recommendation on Trip Advisor + WAS ONLY 26M FROM OUR HOME): This was our finally dinner in Hoi An and we wish we went there sooner. (We chose a restaurant on the beach over this one initially and were dissapointed by that one, and the next night noted an APEC summit car picking up some important people). It’s a hidden gem. The spring rolls here were the best we ate during our entire trip in Vietnam. We ordered the special sharing plate (grilled scallops, deep fried squid, spring rolls with pork + mixed salad), BBQ beef with charcoal (you grill the BBQ yourself), stir fried chicken with lemongrass, and stir fried pumpkin with peanuts. I’d recommend it all.
- The DeckHouse An Bang Beach: We didn’t eat here, but we drank cocktails overlooking the beach as the sun went down, so that was pretty nice. I tried a coconut mojito here, which was interesting.
- STREETS Restaurant Cafe (recommended by facebook friends, but +++ reviews on trip advisor): I noticed around Vietnam and Cambodia that there are multiple restaurants built on the principle of taking homeless and disadvantage youth on the street and training them in hospitality. It’s pretty amazing really. You can read about the concept here. The service is what you’d expect in a high class restaurant, and we used this opportunity to try Hoi An specialities – Cao Lau & White Rose Dumplings. We loved the dumplings.
- Bao Han (trip advisor recommendation): The service at this place was pretty fab – the lady running the restaurant was really helpful and ensure you consumed the dishes properly – vietnamese dishes often need some form of assembly. We ordered the White Rose Dumplings (even better here) and a papaya salad with prawns for Entrees, and I opted for Cao Lau again. When I say the host was helpful, she made sure I mixed the Cao Lau, saying it doesn’t taste good until you do. I agreed. Mix your Cao Lau well.
- Phi Banh Mi: Chris loved Banh Mi so we did our best to get it in where possible. This was a mid morning snack after a busy morning of bike riding. There are 11 types of Banh Mi here – you’ll just notice the bread rolls in Hoi An are different that in Ho Chi Minh City. Still good though. Soft on the inside, crispy on the outside – white bread heaven.
- The Chef (from a best coffee in Hoi An blog post): our absolute favourite coffee shop in Hoi An. This cafe is above a bookshop, which we had already been into and not notice you could get coffee upstairs; there is also a roof top bar open in the evening which is quite popular. We got here after sunset, and I feel the view would actually be better during the day and over sunset.
If you go to the Old Town one night, be sure to sit down and enjoy a drink at a restaurant along the rivers edge. It’s so beautiful.
We had such a fantastic time and I want to share this with you all. Again, I am definitely no expert but I hope this is helpful for someone. x